Scintillating street lights shone on the midnight, snow covered roads. It was a cold December night, and I was searching for any fragment of food to eat. Hunger was scratching my stomach, striking at my throat. I needed something to quell the pain and get me through this difficult night. But these streets were difficult to read.
The icy stares from people were colder than the wind. They looked at me like some kind of dying creature. They were kind of right: my ribs stretched my chest and my cheeks outlined my cheekbones. I was more like an undead than human. But that's how they treated us orphans, like dead weight. It was survival of the fittest, smartest, and swiftest. Get left behind and you die, or even worse, get caught by the Popos.
My feet gave into frostbite five hours ago, and my poor excuse for clothing rags were holding together by threads of patches. Anything to eat, I thought. Anything to nibble on. A piece of bread, cabbage, anything these hypocrites consume that can hold me over for the night. I started to feel light-headed and angry at the frustration of not finding anything this night. It was the snow, or more precisely, the water. Water always had that effect on my ability, smudging my sights. I kept trudging through the snow. Then, in a dark alley between Samilia's Bakery and Bank of Jerome, stood my ticket to a glorious buffet.
The first thing I noticed about this guy were his grey eyes. They pierced through me, my soul, as if he knew my abilities and everything about me. Oddly familiar, I brushed off this feeling and continued towards him. I knew this was my chance.
"Spare a penny for an orphan?"
He obviously had more than that. $203.55 more.
"Nope." He looked past me.
The trick to pickpocketing is to distract the eyes and confuse the touch. The magic number is four touch points, any more than that and the person can't feel. So began my thieving act, scene a thousand and something.
I dramatically tripped and hit my legs onto his. One and two. My left arm diagonal on his chest and arm. Three and four. Now was the swiftest part. My right arm delicately swiped whatever bills it could get from his back pocket and reached back toward my chest. Hit the snow on the floor.
I quickly got up and shook the snow off.
"Sorry about that. Guess I was born with two left feet." I said sheepishly.
I started to walk away, each step widening my smile. I was even feeling a little warm inside. Then outside. A little too hot. Burning. Suddenly, the cash I just stole was on fire. I threw it on the ground, bewildered. "What the hell?" I thought to myself. How did the money get on fire?
I turned and saw the guy chuckling.
"That was a good move. You almost had me if it weren't for this coin." He held up a quarter that was left on the ground after my miserable performance. He tossed it between us.
"You can have that and buy yourself some bread for this horrible night, or you can forget about playing thief and I'll show you something you've never seen or experienced before."
In that moment, a rush of calculated judgement coursed through my head. I knew this guy knew about my secret, so if I leave him he could potentially break it to the Popos, and they could take me in for suspected witchcraft. On the other hand I could make a dash for that coin and break away from this event ever happening.
"All right, you win."
I walked towards him looking at his eyes, arms at my sides.
"I never really wanted to take your cash, but I just had to..." I swiped the coin from the snow and tried to make a dash for it.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I turned to him, looking straight at this guy.
"How do you...?"
He brushed off my question with his hand.
"If you ask here, you've just have more questions."
He walked towards me.
"But if you want to pull the thread and find out, you'll have to drop the coin."
Who was this guy? How did he know my name? I forgot the piercing pains from my stomach. The cold winter air filled my lungs with a renewed spirit. It sparked within me.
I threw the coin behind me.